How hard-working are the Swedes?

%%  I’m chairing a Chalmers Formula Student team meeting today. Sponsors and alumni will be coming to listen to what our engineers have to say about next generation racecar development. What stresses me out more than the presentation itself is Fika! (It’s not a swear word, it’s Swedish for coffee break.) I’m in charge of arranging the Fika break, which includes strong coffee and kanelbullar (sugar-loaded cinnamon buns).

Fika is a religion here. Swedish people worship coffee. I don’t know where the word “Fika” came from. One explanation is kaffe = “ka” + “fi”. And by transitive property, A+B=B+A… Alas! Kaffe = Ka+Fe = Fi+ka = Fika!

Kanonbra (super good)! Enough math.


So how hardworking are the Swedes? We seem to talk a lot about their endless summer vacations, countless Fika breaks, eating mountains of kanelbullar, and etc.

Based on my observation, after intake of kanelbullar and coffee, the Swedes are turbocharged with potential energy. Work gets done at rapid rates. And once this energy runs low, Fika break is in order. My point is the Swedes are pretty efficient. They take effective breaks and gets the work done.

Study hall

Swedes are perhaps a bit more introverted. But the plus side is that they are respectful of others’ boundaries. In the study hall, the tables begin to fill up after 8 am and remain busy until dinnertime. In such a crowded place, there’s no chaos. It’s not a library, yet it’s not terribly noisy. People might have a little chitchat but they are not disrupting anyone. This type of studying environment can be found all over campus. Even the student union pub! Some are having a good time with friends over beers, while some are washing down dry biology assignments with beverages. Skål!

study room

No skål for me. I need to study for tomorrow’s final exams.


coffee innovation

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Chinese-Canadian Automotive Engineering graduate from TU Chalmers. Contact me if you have questions or just want to grab a beer at gimmygoteborg (at) gmail!
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